Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is finally here, and for a lot of us that could mean a relaxing night in front of the TV with a few treats, or maybe you’re heading out with friends or family to blow off some working-week steam. Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a wonderful evening, and manage to take something positive from this latest post to top your week off!
Since this is my first ‘proper’ post, I’ll be trialing content and layout, and so any feedback in the comments would be greatly appreciated! In this post you’ll find out what this week’s Hot Health Topics are, I’ll share one of my Take-off Takeaway recipes so that you don’t have to miss out on those weekend traditions, and we’ll have one of our regular features – Food Memory Friday. This last feature will be included in every Friday post as a dedication to my best friend, who has kindly agreed to be my editor and actually suggested this feature. Along with the other member of our trio, we’ve shared a lot of food memories together over the years, and I’ll be sure to share some of them with you in the future, but for this week we’ll stick to a theme. Read on to find out what the theme for this week’s Food Memory Friday is.
I hope you enjoy this week’s read!
Hot Health Topics
This week Public Health England (PHE), the department of the government that is responsible for caring for the public’s health and well-being, released its new initiatives to tackle the country’s obesity crisis. Obesity is a huge issue in Westernised countries, as calorie-dense, processed foods form the main bulk of our diet and provide a calorie intake that is surplus of our requirements. Many of these foods are convenient and can be found pre-packaged and ready to go, making them a quick-fix choice that fits in with our busy lives. But the chronic intake of these foods and lack of physical activity to balance this out, has meant that the prevalence of obesity is at its highest.
With the risk of chronic diseases such as Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer escalating with increased body weight, the strain placed on the NHS to treat individuals with these diseases is enormous (£6bn a year!). Naturally, a way to reduce this cost is to lower public obesity levels. But how do PHE plan to do this?
- Require food manufacturers to reduce the caloric content of their products by reducing portion sizes or adjusting recipes.
- Encourage families to reduce overall caloric intake by choosing lower calorie food and beverage options and reducing their own portion sizes.
- Recommend that meals follow a 400-600-600 structure, with breakfast calorie content restricted to 400 calories, and lunch/dinner restricted to 600 calories each. This leaves 200-700 calories available for snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Obviously these initiatives all have the potential to make a significant difference to the health of the public, but is it a case of easier said than done? With PHE aiming for a 20% reduction in average caloric intake by 2024, is this goal too much to take on? It’s achievable if all of these initiatives are combined, but in isolation, 20% could be ambitious. Personally I would love for these new plans to prove impactful, and so I hope that the public and food providers collaborate to make the project a success.
Finally! This has been a long time coming! Supermarket chains such as Asda, Tesco and Co-op have introduced a new rule that restricts Under-16s from purchasing energy drinks in their stores nationwide. This follows campaigning from educators and high-profile members of the food world such as Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, who have long been concerned about the impact of the high caffeine content of these drinks on the cognitive function and health of young people. The British Nutrition Foundation reports that the consumption of energy drinks during the school day has a significant impact on children’s attention and short-term health, as well as their behaviour, and so hopefully by making the beverages less accessible, this issue will be somewhat reduced in months to come.
This new rule by supermarkets should be only the first step towards solving this health issue, with actual legislation being a possibility in the long term.
As it’s Friday and tradition dictates that a takeaway may be the best option going, why not try and recreate your favourite takeaway dish for yourself? Save the pennies and watch the waistline with my one-pot Thai-Style Noodle Soup recipe!
Thai-Style Noodle Soup
Dietary options: meat (diced chicken would work best), fish (seafood mix or chunks of white fish), vegetarian (tofu, edamame beans, Quorn chicken-style pieces). Vegan (same protein options as vegetarian, but with vegan noodle substitute). Gluten-free (use gluten-free noodles).
Time: 30 minutes max (10 minutes prep, 15-20mins cooking)
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Small bunch of fresh coriander
- ½ green chilli (keep the seeds in if you like it hot)
- ½ white onion (or 3 spring onions)
- ½ fresh lime (split into quarters)
- 1 fish/vegetable stock pot or cube (made up to 400ml)
- 1 tbsp fish/oyster sauce
- 160ml coconut milk (light option, if low-cal option preferred)
- Mixture of vegetables (I like to use peppers, mushrooms, and baby corn, but feel free to change it up and add in whatever you have!)
- Protein source – do what you like with this to meet your dietary requirements
- 2 nests of wholewheat noodles
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Food processor/blender
- Wooden spoon
- Chopping board
- Chopsticks and a spoon to eat with, if you’re feeling authentic!
- Boil a kettle and place a large saucepan on a hob at medium heat
- Place the lemongrass, garlic, coriander (reserving a few leaves for the garnish), onion, chilli, and the juice of half of the lime in the food processor and blend to a rough paste
- Fry the paste in the saucepan in a little bit of sesame oil, along with any meat (if chosen)
- After 2-3 minutes, add the vegetables and fry for a further 2 mins.
- Add the stock, noodles and protein option, simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the coconut milk, stir, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Ladel the noodle soup into two bowls and serve with a lime wedge and spring of coriander to garnish.
If you’re making this for one, the noodle soup will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an air-tight container, or you can freeze it for up to 6 weeks.
That’s my dinner sorted for tonight, and I feel it brings everything that a takeaway does – full-on flavour, comfort, and that hit of exotic spice!
‘Food Memory Friday’
The last feature of today’s post is ‘Food Memory Friday’! This will always feature when I post on a Friday, and gives me the chance to share short stories from my food history, and also gives readers the opportunity to share their’s too. This week I’d like to share a food memory involving my mom and nan, since Mother’s Day is fast approaching (a gentle reminder there in case you’d forgotten!).
I grew up in an all-ladies household with my mom, nan and younger sister – yes, I was very priveleged! – and learnt to cook by helping my nan prepare our meals and treats from a very young age. I remember how I used to help her prepare dinner for us all whilst my mom was at work, and she also taught me how to make one of my favourite puddings – rhubarb crumble, using rhubarb grown on her own allotment. From my nan I learnt how to cook simple, hearty food, and used all this knowledge as inspiration for trying to create my own recipes as I grew older. So it’s fair to say that my nan was a huge influence of my passion for cooking, and what I especially love about this hobby is that I can share my creations with the wonderful woman who taught me, as well as my mom, sister, and any other family members or friends, which makes me incredibly happy.
Please feel free to share any food memories that you have involving your mom, nan, auntie, sister, cousins, best friends, or any other special ladies in your life as a celebration of these important women in the comments section.
That’s all from me! I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and as I said this is a trial of content and layout, so please give feedback in the comments if you’d like to see something done differently or have any suggestions for me then drop me a comment!
Have a great weekend, and look out for my next post – summary post on this week’s recipes – very soon!